Uganda: Ongwen’s Lead Counsel Gives Indebt Accounts of War Politics at Play at the ICC as He Files App

The ICC has been caught up in its dirty cobweb
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Mr. Crispus Ayena Odongo highlighting rots within the ICC

“There are so many gray areas in the 1077-page judgment that a higher court will squash. By sentencing Ongwen to a life in prison for twenty-five years, the court should have balanced aggravating factors and mitigating factors. If aggravating factors forms part of the case, then, in law we call that ‘double counting’.

“It is bogging to say that this African system of “Mato Oput” encourages impunity. To us, this is misplaced. The beauty withy this system is that you plead with accountability and solution at the same time. It is more pensions than formal systems. Mato Oput involves the whole clan, restorative and it endures while formal courts convict an individual only. We talked our voice hoarse as to why they should not take into consideration some of the African values”
Gulu-Uganda: Domonic Ongwen’s lead counsel, Mr. Crispus Ayena- Odongo has revealed that his team has formally filed a notice of appeal against the conviction of their client and that they intend to file another notice of appeal against the 25- year sentence.

“There are so many gray areas in the 1077-page judgment document that a higher court will squash. By sentencing Ongwen to a life in prison for twenty-five years, the court should have balance aggravating factors and mitigating factors. If aggravating factors forms part of the case, then, in law we call that ‘double counting’, he says.

Mr. Ayena-Odongo said this on Tuesday, June 08, 2021 from the Gulu based Northern Uganda Media Club when he visited the center to give an indebt account of the politics of war entrepreneurs he witnessed at play at The Hague based International Criminal Court.

“As media personalities with interest in the trials of Ongwen, I thought I should come and give you indebt understanding of the matters and quality of events at the ICC. Disproportionality is a normal formality and the ICC is not unique- right from the set-up itself”. He says, adding; “you will realize that the victims’ counsel are basically also prosecutors. They back up prosecution and we have had to counter them with the same vein with prosecution. This is double jeopardy”.

He says Ongwen’s appeal brief on conviction has already been filed on Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at the court and that and that the judges have already accepted it. Ayena says verbal appeal submission will be held on July 21, 20221. He says their brief on sentence appeal notice will be filed within the next two weeks.

He says the judges have already given green-light to file notice of appeal against conviction in which they have also floated for the Acholi cultural method of delivering justice through the “Mao Oput” rituals.
“It is bogging to say that this African system of “Mato Oput” encourages impunity. To us, this is misplaced. The beauty withy this system is that you plead with accountability and solution at the same time. It is more pensions than formal systems. Mato Opu involves the whole clan, restorative and it endures while formal courts convict an individual only. We talked our voice hoarse as to why they should not take into consideration some of the African values”. He says.

He accused both the pre-trial chamber for allowing the trial of his client to go head and the trial court for convicting and sentencing their client when in actual fact he should have been allowed his freedom out of captivity.

“We raise some ground, technical matters, and we are optimistic that this case can collapse. The ICC is caught up in its own cobweb. The best is to establish a jury system like in the USA which takes care of the average man like our client. We gave the main case a good shot in the harm when we exposed the complexity of the case but the judgment did not reflect this complexity. They rubbished that element. I emphasized to the chamber that confronting the case without a precedence is no justice as African culture is alien to them, which they dismiss African Spiritualism as crude”, he says.

Mr. Ayena also complained that the court did not treat and facilitated the prosecution and defense teams equally by underfunding his activities and being given lesser manpower to pursue the case.

“While prosecution always had at least fifteen well facilitated pensionable personnel in the court room, the defense team was forced to operate with a ‘bare minimal’. Compared to what prosecution had, then ours come to nothingness”, he says.

He says Ongwen could have been the youngest abductee of the Lord’s Resistance Army having been abducted when he was hardly nine years old who became a darling of the rebel leader Joseph Kony. He says Ongwen was indoctrinated into believing that Kony was a spiritual medium the outer world and was given special attention.

“Spiritualism tempered with some weird Christianity based on the Ten Commandments. It is said; ‘Thou shall not kill’. But Kony was a killer. ‘Thou shall not steal’. But they steal. This made it difficult to conceptualize the case”, he says.

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